After the success of "March Of The Penguins" the first animate penguin movie in a deluge of penguin moves was "Happy Feet". I had no interest in seeing this movie. I thought it was just another attempt at Hollywood trying to choke every last dollar for a successful topic and animating it to choke every last dollar from people with kids. Then one day when going to the gym I was listening to an AM talk radio show where the host was talking about how he heard from his daughter that the movie was pure propaganda. Well when anyone calls any movie propaganda I almost always have to see it. I wanted to see with my own eyes if this movie was to indoctrinate our children into thinking something with underhanded tactics of dancing animations.
Right away I have a problem with this movie. It's co-directed. Now would someone please tell me why you need two directors when your film has no real people in it at all? One director is George Miller, who directed all three Mad Max movies (I should have been worried right there...after all this is the man who gave us "Two men enter...one man leave" "Beyond Thunderdome!) and the other is Warren Coleman who is more of an actor than a director. You have a really big bag of actors in this movie too. Robin Williams, Elijah Wood, Brittany Murphy, Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, Hugo Weaving (where again he hates humanity in this movie), and even Fat Joe.
Now it's easy to be harsh on kids movies and the plot and the humor of them. After all they are marketed for kids and might not appeal to the "20-year-old-male-who-still-uses-cartoons-from-his-childhood-
as-an-example-of-good-kids-movies". With that being said, the plot is moronic. The short version is that Mumble (Elijah Wood) has two parents that can sing the best in the clan. The songs are used to attract a mate to reproduce and carry the same routines of the penguins' lives over and over, generation after generation. However Mumble not only looks different than the other penguins, but he can't sing at all. The thing he can do is to quickly move his feet, and somehow he can tap dance on snow covered ice.
His father, the prized singer in the clan, is, of course, disappointed in his son and tells him what he does "just ain't penguin". Mumble has a childhood crush on Gloria (Brittany Murphy), but without a "heartsong" he won't be able to attack her. She, of course, is the best singer in the clan for this generation. So you're going to see the cheerleader and the nerd/geek/different person roles played out there. When Mumble goes against the traditions of his clan, Noah the Elder (Hugo Weaving) casts him out from the clan. Noah and the other elders talk about how his tap dancing ability goes against nature and the "great penguin". Ya, no undertones there. Mumble finds a new group of penguins who are more carefree and teams up his dancing skills with a group of latin-accented penguins. They embrace his tap dancing ability and team up for songs and dances.
Mumble gets captured by some humans and taken to a zoo in America. First, let me tell you of another subplot in this movie. Humans have been overfishing which in turn have made it harder and harder on the penguins to survive. While Mumble is in the zoo he believes if he just talks to the humans they would understand and stop over fishing. He tries talking but all the humans hear are the quackings of a penguin. Oh no! What could Mumble possibly do to attract the attention of the humans to communicate to them that penguins are almost people too?
He does what any of us without a mouth would do in his situation. He uses his gift of tap dance. People all over the world flock (see my bird pun there, eh?!) to see the dancing penguin. Even world leaders want to know what is going on. People think Mumble is just doing something fun but they don't know that him and his people are dying because of these bad humans. Soon, Mumble misses his life of freedom in the cold, Antarctic weather; his family; and his friends and becomes depressed. He's in a zoo after all, and zoos make animals sad. He doesn't dance anymore and the scientists are worried about him. They stick a transmitter on him and let him go free where they found him.
He finds his way back home. His crush is happy to see him but everyone else is very hesitant. Getting a head in the story, the human scientists come and find the flock. The elders think Mumble has brought them here and they will destroy the clan. Mumble tries to convince everyone in the clan if they all dance like him they'll convince the humans that they are living creatures too...or something like that. Noah doesn't want to break tradition and there's a battle. In the end all the penguins, and even Noah, are Riverdancing for the scientists.
That of course convinces the scientists that they are destroying the penguins and they go to the only hope of humanity and the rest of the world...THE UNITED NATIONS! I kid you not! You see heated debate and things getting done within the UN. Humanity decides not to overfish anymore and Mumble attracts Gloria with his tap dancing.
Usually I don't tell you a lot about the movie but this one you have to know what you're going to get. I counted sixteen different examples of what could be considered propaganda.
Grade - F
This movie is pure propaganda. Not only is there environmentalist propaganda but it also promotes evolution and mocks religion (the older ones being the stern religious figures). To makes matters worse, the UN comes in to save the day? This must be fiction now. Back in my day the worse we had was Captain Planet but this is mind altering propaganda for our littlest children. What this movie teaches them is that mankind is bad, zoos are evil, and that embracing the UN as a governmental entity will save us all and make the world a happy place. Other than a few funny moments this movie was horrible. The portrayal of the Hispanic penguins, Mumble's new friends, bordered on racism at times.
Parents and people need to start looking more in depth in what is in our movies. Just because it gets a G rating doesn't mean that it will always be good for our kids.